Another essential fly for targeting Kingfish on top water. The humble crease fly with a few twists. Check out Manics article below on a few key construction points and how to fish it. www.manictackleproject.com/king-tide-salt-fly-rattle-popper/
It’s been a busy winter and spring for us at King Tide. The crew at FC Boats have been flat tack custom building a new FC535 centre console guide boat. A few more tweaks and we’re away for the season.
If you want to come dance on the massive new casting deck then send us a message through the contact link here.
Wondering what flies to use on New Zealands flats Kingfish? The Rattle Piper takes its fair share of Kingfish every season.
Like it or not a bit of acoustic burley can really fire up most pelagic game fish, particularly our New Zealand Yellowtail Kingfish.
The Rattle Piper came about as a way of trial and error, much like most flies out there. Nowadays I prefer grey over off white and mostly tie them in the average sizes found in Tauranga Harbour (approximately 180-200mm). It represents piper, otherwise known as gar and also nick named kingfish candy by local livebaiters. Click this link for a previous post on piper. Something I picked up while livebaiting one night was their tendency to click, this noise is yet another trigger within the fly and should not be overlooked.
I tried adding rattles to my flies years ago with varying success. Glass ones kept smashing and I needed a way to tie them in stronger, quicker and stay inline. The plastic variety and some heat shrink now being preferred options for longevity and ease of use. Other triggers I’m a firm believer in are the slightly exaggerated eyes, two toned colour scheme, some red under the chin and the little orange UV spot at the end of their beak. This beak also adds some length to the fly and enables the fibers to be kept rearward, supported by the rattle they tend to tail wrap less in this manor.
The noise created can be amplified or dimmed depending on retrieve. Quick stop/start strips will see the bearings hit the back then roll forward as the epoxy head dives on the pause. Or for a more subtle action keep a steady pace and the balls will stay back yet still create enough noise to be picked up by nearby lateral lines. At times just the commotion of it hitting the water will induce an eat so be ready from the get-go. Especially if there’s some competition for the fly amongst kingfish.
Thankfully for you these are now available via Manic Tackle Project at most good fly fishing stores. Go pick a few up and try them out on our mossy backed, yellow tail thugs. You might just enjoy teasing them into a savage boat side eat that will be etched in your mind for years to come.Boat side eats are the best.
Recent report on the season to date in Tauranga Harbour. Ray riders, free swimmers and top water marker kingfish on fly.
It’s hard to believe we’re already into the New Year. Early season has been one of the best yet, with great sightings of ray riders and many Kingfish tagged already for the season. Proliferations of baitfish have meant you only need to stick around them for a while until the thugs turn up.
Ray riders have been their usual self, either overly enthusiastic to inhale a well placed fly or shutting up shop after a a few careful presentations. With all the holiday pressure the kingfish see it’s a good bet to try some patterns that they don’t always get thrown at them.
What has been a real stand out is the numbers of fish on some markers, not to mention the size. I just wish the smaller kingfish weren’t so eager to eat flies before the bigger ones hanging deeper.
As usual clients were treated to some stunning scenery with full red blooms of Pohutukawa. A recent king tide provided some exciting casting challenges tucking flies under their branches for cruisers chasing baitfish.
I had a week of relaxation over Christmas with the family and some memorable fishing included. There’s a long road ahead yet but the look on his face says it all and is something to cherish for years to come. Definitely a proud Dad moment watching a good mate help your son catch his first fish.
Coming home to a big storm and huge dump of rain meant trip rescheduling and a bit of relearning some spots as the sand bars have shifted in places. The holiday boat traffic, pesky winds and some dumb luck has kept kingfish captures down but the shots have been there. It pays to be proficient with a good accurate cast on a breezy day. That is reinforced even more so on the hard days when one quick money shot might be the difference between glory and heart break.
A small bay flat I’ve recently been hunting at times has upwards of 20+ stingrays on it, mostly absent of ray riders but all it takes is for an unruly mob of kingfish to take up residence and it will be all on. Couple that with rumors of a 40kg fish caught in the entrance last week and things are looking good for the next few months of salt fly fishing in Tauranga Harbour. There’s loads of kingfish around, go out and enjoy them but remember to look after them. And don’t forget, if you want to be a part of the action this summer drop me a line via this link, you might just want to secure the last few days left of this month…
Early season salt water fly fishing on New Zealand’s flats can be equally as frustrating as it is rewarding. Numbers of kingfish are moving back into the harbour, rejoining the resident winter fish and hounding the increasing local baitfish populations.
Challenges come in many forms at this time of the year. From terrible light to fussy fish there’s a hundred excuses for having a hard day. I’ve compiled a list of annoyances and ways to combat them while chasing our kingfish and other salt water species on fly. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat so don’t write previous failures off as a lost cause, just claim them as fine tuning your approach.
Spring winds: A real pain in the fly anglers arse.
- Seek out sheltered areas for early morning shallow water bow waves.
- Fish don’t mind the wind, plus it hides a boat nicely. Scan the backs/fronts of waves and use these as windows into the water.
- Practice casting over winter. Short, long and quick direction changes are all called for at some stage – often under pressure.
- Watch wind vs tide when navigating channels. Especially so on spring tides, it can get real ugly real quick.
- Check the weather forecasts. Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.
- Practice casting some more. Even better in a strong breeze.
Lighting: There one minute, gone the next.
- Find shelter (trees, cliffs, sand banks) either as a backdrop or to provide calm water to give kingfish disturbances away.
- Low light polarized sunglasses are a huge plus for tough light conditions. Check out Smiths Low Light Ignitors they are a deal breaker.
- When that one little patch of light is coming you better be ready to scan 360 degrees and read as much water as possible before the light shuts down again.
- Try to keep whatever light you have at your back.
- Don’t be afraid to cast at a lot of “is that, um, maybe, nah, yeah” shapes. When they light up with fish you’re in for a lot of fun.
Kingfish and flies: Put them together and you’re halfway there.
- Kingfish have arrived in the harbour with the influx of baitfish. As a rule of thumb flats Kingfish in really shallow love small generic crustacean/baitfish patterns. Kingfish in water deeper than 6ft typically get offered bigger baitfish and “noisy” flies.
- Stake out structure and areas of baitfish congregation. Soon enough you’ll be rewarded, although it could take some time!
- If light is good then cover some ground hunting for black stingrays. Sometimes they’re at the other end of the flat from the day before.
Fighting kingfish on fly: Your first kingfish for the season might just get the better of you.
- Be ready for action at all times. With each strip you should be willing an eat from any nearby fish.
- When they hit, you hit them. Do it quick and make it count. Do NOT trout strike!
- Keep your rod high and line short. Sea lettuce accumulation is a nightmare, even more so when riding solo. It should lessen in the coming months but can be a major pain over spring.
New Zealand salt water fly fishing intel: It’s all at your fingers tips, but best acquired with a rod in your palm.
- Looking at a computer only gives you a certain degree of knowledge. There is nothing more rewarding than getting out there and doing the hard yards yourself, plus you can’t spot a fish staring at your phone screen.
- Time on the water is crucial and should never be undervalued no matter the result.
- Why are you still reading this, go forth and conquer, or maybe go work on that casting.
Don’t forget if you’re around Hamilton this coming Thursday 16th of November there will be a talk on all things salt water fly fishing in New Zealand.
Big thanks to Fish City Hamilton and Manic Tackle Project.
Snags and beers on the go. Kick off 1830, see you there.
The Tauranga harbour Kingfish season has been bubbling away for a few eager salt water fly fishermen. It was a special moment when Aussie angler Rob hooked a ray rider Kingfish on the flats earlier this week.
What made it even more poignant was that this fish had a tag embedded in its side from earlier in the year . Back in March I was joined by Jim Hanley for a morning prior to a storm front rolling in. We had a glass calm flat with bow waves and tails showing themselves wherever we looked. Needless to say he caught a few yellowtail kingfish on fly that day.
What this fish has done over winter will remain a mystery but it’s appearance this week was very welcome.
Kingfish tag details
- Time at liberty: 238 days
- Growth: 6cm
- Distance: 5NM
- Grew an eyebrow
We are finding more interesting info as these data returns come back to us. The importance of looking after these smaller sports fish and maintaining their population for generations to come should not be overlooked.
At this stage it seems each region has a slightly different story to tell, most likely in accordance with environmental factors such as water temperature and quality determining fish movement. New Zealand’s key salt water fly fishing destinations of Waiheke Island, Collingwood, Tauranga and Manukau harbours are covered by the tag a king on fly program and we expect to see more recaptures this season adding to the data bank.
If you are lucky enough to land a previously tagged kingfish please treat it carefully, ideally get tag details – a close up picture is easiest and fastest. Measure it along your rod and return it to the water promptly. If it’s legal maybe even think twice about keeping it, the story about the goose that lays a golden egg is a perfect analogy.